Officers receive weeklong training to recognize mental health is - FOX29 Lake Charles

Officers receive weeklong training to recognize mental health issues

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(Source: Candy Rodriguez/KPLC) (Source: Candy Rodriguez/KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's a routine occurrence - law enforcement dealing with mental health issues.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office said on average, deputies respond to two-to-four calls every day.

On Monday, training to become Crisis Intervention Team - or CIT certified - began for 30 law enforcement officers from various agencies in Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes.

"This is just a way for us to learn how to deal and interact with those cases," said Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's deputy Mika Miguez

Since November 2006, officers from across the state and Texas and Mississippi have spent a week training at the Calcasieu Parish Regional Law Enforcement Academy in Lake Charles.

"This is a unique program," said Lt. Darek Ardoin, who is one of the two coordinators for the CIT program. "[It] is not a police training, police-type training; this training involves a collaboration within our community."

Ardoin, who is with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, works alongside Capt.David Anders, program co-coordinator, who's with the Lake Charles Police Department.

They joined forces more than a decade ago to bring in instructors for the training, including mental health experts like Charmaine Anderson from Imperial Calcasieu Human Services Authority.

"It takes a village," Anderson said. "It takes all of us working together in order to provide services."

The training focuses on educating officers to recognize different mental health situations, gives them the tools to learn how to de-escalate situations and trains the officers through real-life scenarios. 

"They are the boots on the ground; they are the people that are seeing this firsthand and we need to arm them basically with the resources so when they encounter someone who is thinking about dying by suicide they know exactly what to do," she said. "They know where to call that way it doesn't have to resort to violence or anything and that person will get the help they need."

The officers will become CIT certified once they finish the weeklong training on Friday.

If you would like to learn more about the program or if you are interested in participating in the next training, you can contact Lt. Darek Ardoin at dardoin@cpso.com or by clicking HERE

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